For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair…” (2 Cor 4: 6-8)

As imperfect human beings in an imperfect world we do, at times, encounter “darkness,” both within and outside ourselves. But as Church or “ekklesia” (from “ekkaleo,” meaning, “to call out”), – as “those called out” by God to follow His Son, in communion with Him, we are never entirely light-less, even when encountering darkness. Because ours is a God Who knows how to deal with darkness. He doesn’t shy away from it, but looks at it and says, “Let light shine out of darkness.” He is the God, as G. K. Chesterton famously said, “who knows the way out of the grave.”

So today, even if I’m “afflicted in every way,” I am not crushed. Even if I am “perplexed” by certain ambivalences in my life, be it in my personal relationships, my financial situation, or my professional position, I am not “driven to despair.” Because I am not alone, nor left to depend on my own “power.“ No. I have a hidden “treasure“ and “power“ I can tap into, which “belongs to God and not to us.“ I have a spark in me, which I received in baptism, and which no human trial or affliction can extinguish. Let me nurture that spark today, however feeble, bruised, or barely-smoldering it may seem, in just a bit of heartfelt prayer to a God Who does not shy away from my darkness. He knows all about it, and knows how to deal with it. So let me let Him do that, as I open up to Him however I can, in my feeble little prayers. “A bruised reed He will not break,” I am reminded today, “and a smoldering wick He will not extinguish, till He leads justice to victory.” (Mt 12: 20)